The Veterinary Feed Directive or VFD allowed livestock and poultry producers to purchase feeds with antibiotics in them to promote growth or to treat, control or prevent disease. Changes to the VFD will be implemented beginning Jan. 1, 2017

These requirements are also applicable to all livestock producers at all phases of production; to include livestock show projects as well. To learn more about how these changes may affect your show program, livestock exhibitors are encouraged to attend the Nueces County Youth Livestock Symposium on November 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. Participation will be limited to the first 100 4-H and FFA youth and their families due to capacity of facilities. Please call the Nueces County Extension Office at 361-767-5220 to RSVP by Nov. 21. 

The Animal Drug Availability Act of 1996 established the VFD. In 2015, the label to promote growth was removed. In addition, in 2016 three feed grade antibiotics were moved from over the counter sales to essentially a prescription with the VFD. On January 1st, 2017 all other feed grade antibiotics will be added.

In addition to these requiring a VFD to purchase for feeding to control, prevent or treat a disease, several others used in water will move from OTC to prescription sales. A veterinarian will need to write a prescription in order for livestock and poultry producers to use them. 

In each case a valid veterinary client patient relationship is needed. This relationship means that the veterinarian knows you and your operation, is available to consult and trusts you to follow the directions on the VFD and feed label. The VFD should be obtained well in advance of you needing it since not all feed companies will be making or storing these feeds.

The VFD records must be kept by you, the feed dealer and the veterinarian for at least 2 years. It must be transmitted by hand, mail, email, or fax; it cannot be transmitted by a phone call.

This will not affect your ability to purchase injectable antibiotics at your local feed store or farm supply store if they do not require a prescription but care should always be taken to follow labeled directions for use, route of administration and withdrawal times.